How did I miss this great airgun related story last year?
San Francisco Chronicle
Chicken rescue probed
Air gun used by cop to burst balloons
(08-07) 04:00 PDT San Francisco — A San Francisco police lieutenant who used an air pistol to pop balloons that kept a chicken stuck in power lines is being investigated for possibly breaking department rules by firing a nonregulation weapon.
Lt. Mark Swendsen thought he was a hero June 21 for using his Daisy Model 777 pistol to save the Rhode Island Red hen that a prankster — apparently copying a stunt promoting a TV show — had sent aloft with 100 helium balloons.
“I was doing my job,” he said Wednesday. “I was trying to save the chicken, and I was trying to prevent other people from being hurt.”
Now, he said, he feels like the target of a “bizarre inquisition” by the department.
The air pistol that the 30-year veteran used to rescue the chicken at Broderick and Fell streets was Swendsen’s, not something that the department issued. Swendsen says the pistol is used in 10-meter Olympic competition.
“It’s meant to shoot things from about 38 feet away,” he said. “It’s meant to put all its shots in the space of a dime. . . . It’s pretty accurate.”
The chicken, dubbed Amelia by animal welfare workers, was adopted by a Concord woman in June.
Lt. Mike Slade, who runs the department’s internal affairs unit, said the investigation was simply a routine response to an anonymous complaint and that Swendsen had little reason to worry.
“We knew it was a nothing,” Slade said. “We wanted to make sure there was no merit to the case. If somebody makes a complaint, we have to look at it — it was something very minor.”